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No need for handguns

The position taken by the Conservatives that they will not ban handguns in the wake of another innocent kid being gunned down in a crossfire in Toronto a few days ago isn’t surprising. From their attempts to kill the long gun registry, to stacking the firearms advisory committee with gun enthusiasts, it’s very evident that the gun lobby has its best friends in government at the moment.

That being said, I am of the opinion that once the Conservatives are ousted from power, handguns of all types should indeed be banned. I see absolutely no reason for ordinary Canadians to have to own a handgun any more then not seeing the reason for them owning an assault rifle. If someone counters that farmers and such need something to shoot pests, a rifle or shotgun is of a better use to them in that regard. My relatives who are farmers all own rifles for that express purpose; none of them have ever expressed a desire to get a handgun to defend the farm from varmints. Handguns should be limited to the military and the police.

To those who say handgun problems are mostly caused by smuggling and the ban wouldn’t help, that’s not quite true. To be sure, it’s a problem, but when you consider 2000 – 3000 guns are apparently stolen each year from those who own them legally, that’s a problem that needs to be addressed. The solution is simple; ban them. Removing the supply of legal arms will then allow Canada’s police and border guards to focus more on the guns being smuggled in illegally across the border.

The Tories are obviously not up to the task – they are in the gun lobby’s holster, as Atty-General of Ontario Michael Bryant says. This should be made a key election issue when that election finally rolls around. There will be far more people in Canada supportive of a total gun ban then against, I deem.

UPDATE @ 12:33PM: The Toronto Star editorial today also calls for a total ban on handguns (on an irreverent note, nice to see I’m not the only one who still uses the term “varmints”. I don’t feel as much of a country hick now 😉 )

….about 400,000 Canadians own handguns. These gun owners are inadvertently helping to outfit a criminal army of the streets, which obtains many of its firearms by theft. About 97,000 firearms have been stolen or reported missing in Canada over the past 30 years..the most pressing need in this struggle to control violence is a nationwide bad on handguns. Such a ban should be enacted without delay and with few exceptions to the rule. Police officers and the military obviously should still be allowed to carry pistols. And there may be room for a narrow exemption for elite competitive shooters. Everyone else should have to surrender their weapons under a federal buyback program.


144 comments to No need for handguns

  • jb: also, too bad you had to lose your pit bulls. Just so you understand, you lost 'em because people used the same kinds of arguments against them that you use against guns.

  • dnager=danger; my bad.

  • jb, with respect:

    The framers of the 2nd amendment in the USA wanted the populace to be armed sufficiently to form an insurrection against an incumbent totalitarian regime. So, in an American sense, it makes no sense constitutionally to say that limitations ought to be placed on exactly the kinds of weapons that would allow modern day citizens to defend against a modern day totalitarian regime.

    But we're talking Canada here.

    To start with the atom bomb argument: you wanna play ridiculous arguments reductio ad absurdum? Then  I can, too. That means squirt guns and slingshots should be illegal because idiots can fill the squirt guns with gas or poisons or load the slingshots with napalm balloons. In fact, you could use a ballpoint pen as a weapon, ergo they oughtta be banned as well. So let's do each other a favour, drop all those kinds of arguments and instead talk common sense here and keep the subject to hand-held weapons.

    Now, we're back to where my arguments make sense, and the arguments of the anti-gun types don't.

    All the anti-gun arguments boil down to : "I don't like 'em" or "I don't trust other people with 'em", or "bad people do bad things with them", usually combined with "those weapons work too well". Well, I'm a sane, reasonable citizen with no criminal record; I don't care whether you like guns (you don't have to own any); I don't care whether you trust me; you have no reason to restrict me as if I am already bad or a dnager; and the only weapons I'm interested in are ones that work very well.

  • Whooee! Okay, I'm a hick and a gun hater. I shot a few long guns and a handgun. Interestingly enough, the only time I ever shot a handgun, it belonged to a drug dealer two-bit conman. I ain't sayin' what I was doin' with that rat bastard but it was over 20 years ago.

    I think Mike makes agood point about prohibition nurturin' crime.

    I got a problem with the idea that anybody should be able to own anything they want to. How 'bout atomic bombs? Should we have the right to own 'em? How 'bout non-atomic bombs? I might wanna do a little target bombin' practice over the back 40, maybe dig a irrigation pond real quick.

    If we say we'll allow the banning of certain types of weapons – assault rifles, anti-tank rockets, fully automatic rifles, bazookas, howitzers, whatever… then, the issue is only which weapons are legal and which are not. In that context, a handgun ban is as justifiable as a machine gun ban or an IED ban.

    BTW, I had a shotgun stuck in my belly in 1969 outside of East St. Louis, Illinois. I ain't never had anybuddy pull a handgun on me, though.


  • Unless there's some difference in my reasoning on socialist books and yours about guns, Scott…

  • There's a percentage of people that read socialist literature that then become despotic, or that then support despotic regimes. A percentage of readers of socialist books use them to convert others to that cause, which increases the numbers I mentioned in my first sentence. Since an undeniable percentage of socialist regimes turn in to objectively murderous totalitarian regimes, I have a suggestion about what to do about the ownership, reading and distribution of socialist literature…

  • Alison,

    "(Disclaimer : I'm anti-gun on the grounds it is the #1 method of choice for teens committing suicide and they comprise the largest demographic of suicides.)"

    Fine.  Let's use that logic for a moment:  Let's ban guns so that guns are now no longer the #1 method of choice for teen committing suicides.  After banning them, ropes or knives become the #1 method of choice. Using your logic, we now should ban ropes or knives on the grounds it is the #1 method of choice.

    Does anyone know by any chance what the #1 method of choice for "attempted" suicides are?  I'm not sure.. I'd say possibly Rx drugs by overdose.  Perhaps we should ban Rx Drugs too?

  • "I still don’t see any of you giving me valid reasons for someone to own guns."

    This is a most ridiculous assertion and fallacious thinking.

    I have my reasons for anything I own, whether or not I am able to communicate those reasons to you.  I may have a million "reasons" and have forgotten some of them in the communication, as well.

    Shall we "ban" cars?  I could say that wanting to "get around and commute to places" isn't a valid reason to own a car.  The majority of us have legs and why, the State does such a fine job of providing transportation!

    Don't confuse words with ideas or things:  My reasons may not be anything you've ever thought of, or that you find "valid."  "Valid" in the way you are using it is applying a subjective to an objective – my "reasons" are objective – I know what they are, whether or not I've used words well enough to communicate my ideas/reasons to you. 

  • "As far as I’m concerned Mike, there is no reason for people to own guns"

    Dictators and majorities do try to impose their own "views" on everyone else, don't they?

    As far as I'm concerned, everyone should own a handgun.

    So what are you going to do with that one?  Call up some armed buddies (agents of the State) you've allowed to have handguns to try to stop me?

  • Sorry, bad URL in my last post's ID… bbl

  • I'll be back later for more detail, but right now, Scott, this will have to do: I don't give a flying you-know-what whether or not you see a reason I should or shouldn't have a gun, long, short or otherwise. The status of my ownership of a gun is quite simply not your business and the last things I have a pressing need for is your permission or understanding. My life is mine.

    Guns kill people like spoons make people fat.

  • Erigami,

    My bad…I must have misread that. But the point is still made…most hand guns are already illegal and banned, yet two-thirds of  2002 homicides are by handguns. Meaning of course that most gun related homicides are already committed with banned weapons.

    Explain how banning them for everyone will make us safer?

    As for the rest of it, I only need to point, again, to Washington DC's experience. Even before the courts over turned the ban, the city council there was contemplating dropping the ban because it was ineffective in its stated purpose – to protect people and reduce crime.

    You fail to mention that 4\5th of all gun crime are suicide, not homicide.  Meaning of course that  banning guns will merely  shift the method of suicide to something else.  Suicidal people want to die, period, not die if only they had a gun. 

    From the report:

    As gun-related suicides declined,
    suicide by suffocation/hanging became more
    : the rate rose from about 3 to 5 deaths
    per 100,000.

    Now, I could conceivably use my computer to commit a crime. I can use a baseball bat to kill. Shall we ban them?

    Also, from the stats you cite, the rate of gun deaths has been on a steady decline since 1990, along with the general crime rate. The trend has been downward, even without gun control laws such as C-17 and C-68. Again, do not attribute to laws and banning what is more attributable to demographics – less crime equals less gun crime. The number of gun homicides has remained a steady 1\3 or all homicides and had declined with the general homicide rate.

    From the report:

    In 1995, when gun registration became compulsory, the death
    rate for firearms-related injuries was 3.8 per 100,000
    population. Over the following years, the rate, which had been
    falling quite steadily since the early 1990s, continued to drop.
    Of course, it is difficult to measure the contribution that gun
    control regulations may have made to this decrease.


    I would suggest that we do nothing. The problem isn't the gun, its the crime. Lets focus on dealing with the root causes of the crimes that involve guns instead of punishing the vast majority of lawful gun owners who do not commit crimes with them.

  • <blockquote>I still don’t see any of you giving me valid reasons for someone to own guns.</blockquote>

    Target shooting is a valid reason, collecting is a valid reason, protection is a valid reason, and I am sure there are any number of other people who could give you any number of other reasons they consider to be valid for owning a handgun.

    Your premise is that because some people, in some places, do bad things, with hand guns that no one, any where, should be allowed to own a hand gun, and that's a pretty darned weak argument.

    Like a great many things in our society hand guns have the potential to be used in crime, what shall we ban next because someone, somewhere,  figured out how to kill someone with it?

  • Shawn

    Interesting that the Star needed to cast the net back 30 years to get to a figure of 97K worth of stolen guns. You only get to an average of 2-3k worth via simple arithmetic. I suspect that in actual fact the number of handguns stolen in the last few years would be dramatically lower given the general difficulty in (legally) obtaining them, strict storage requirements etc.

    But go ahead – ban them all. Make em all extra illegal.

    Then when this approach has demonstrably failed to curb the gang-style shootings  a couple of years out, perhaps the debate will be laid to rest.

  • Mike, what improvements can you suggest to existing gun control laws that would address Scott's concerns while at the same time not violating your right to own one?

    (Disclaimer : I'm anti-gun on the grounds it is the #1 method of choice for teens committing suicide and they comprise the largest demographic of suicides.)

  • [quote comment="6067"]And if you read the Stats Can reports, most gun crimes are with rifles, not handguns. [/quote]

    According to StatsCan "handguns accounted for two-thirds of firearm homicides in 2002, up from about one-half during the 1990s. Rifles and shotguns accounted for one quarter of all homicides involving firearms." Most firearm-related homicides in 2002 involved handguns.

    [quote comment="6067"]I would also like to see some evidence that banning handguns will make us "safer" or actually reduce gun crime[/quote]

    According to the same report, most firearm related deaths are suicides (2/100,000 Canadians) a few are homicides (.4/100,000), and even fewer are accidental (.1/100,000).  Since the 70s, rates of suicide have fallen, but rates of suicide with a firearm have fallen faster. Other methods of suicide have not risen. At the same time, rates of firearm related suicide have fallen dramatically since 1990, suggesting that the firearm control programs introduced in the 1990s had some success. (One would have to compare suicide rates during the same time period to come to any conclusion)

    This suggests that limiting access to firearms will have a positive effect.

    Fun fact: Out of 32 posts, this is the first one to cite statistics. It's also the first by a self-identified Green Party member. I'm not suggesting causation, just correlation.

  • BillG:

    As the Star says:

    "Law-abiding people with a practical use for firearms, such as farmers needing to rid their land of varmints, are better-served by a rifle or shotgun than a pistol. They have no need for this class of firearm."

    The Star (and I) arent saying you take those with "practical use" of firearms like those living in the countryside away from them. We're just saying this type of firearm isn't a necessary one.

  • billg

    Its funny how its a natural reaction by people who have probably never owned a gun in their lives, never fired one and, dont know how hard it is to keep and store one.  I've always lived in the country and always owned a gun, protection from animals and, when Iived miles away from other houses it was for a sense of secuity, I'm still in the country but, I live in a community now and dont keep guns in the house, there is no need for it and I'll probably never own another one.  But, if I was ever to move to a remote area…I would have a gun.  I just dont know how you go about limiting city gun ownership vs those in the remote areas.

  • Lord Kitchener's Own

    Also, just to poke my head in, Mike's argument is that banning handguns will increase crime, while Scott's counter at 4:34 shows that in places where gun ownership is higher, gun deaths and injuries are higher.  It seems like they're having two different conversations.  Mike says crime will go up, and Scott couters that no, deaths and injuries will go down.  Well, "deaths and injuries" is not "crime".  Crime can go up, even while gun related deaths and injuries go down.  Actually, crime would almost HAVE to go up, by definition, unless you believe a substantial number of gun owners would actually give up their guns, which I don't.  Changing handgun ownership from legal to illegal makes criminals out of those who own legal handguns, and I think most of them will keep their guns, and be a criminal.

    I'd say, as Mike points out, that it's pretty clear that when you prohibit something, the criminal activity around that something increases.  Criminal gangs don't sell illegal drugs just because that's the product they've chosen.  They sell illegal drugs because it's so profitable.  And one of the reasons it's so profitable is because it's illegal.  Give criminals a monopoly, and they'll take advantage of it.  As Mike suggests, Capone could never have built an empire on alcohol without prohibition. 

    I don't think banning handguns will at all reduce the number of handguns in Canada, any more than the prohibition on pot has reduced our access to pot [and thank God :-)].   I do think however that banning handguns probably WOULD lead to an increase in the number of illegal gun dealers in Canada.  However, I'd say the effect that banning handguns would have on stopping people from getting handguns is about the same as the effect the ban on pot has on stopping people from getting pot.  The access is pretty much identical (if not, ironically, increased) except that when it's banned you have to pay an inflated price, to a criminal, rather than a reasonable price to a licensed seller.  I think that parallel stands up pretty well.

    We live next door to the U.S. after all.  You could make posessing a handgun a capitol offense in Canada and I doubt it would reduce the number of handguns in the country by very much at all.

  • Billg:

    First off, my apologies for your comment being moderated by my blog. The anti-spam program on here looks at how many times people post in a day and over a certain number it flags them. I assure you it wasnt because I didnt want you posting here.

    2ndly, I’m not sure its “weird”. I think its a natural reaction by a lot of people in our political culture up here where I believe a lot of Canadians perceive owning a gun is seen as an oddity (at minimum). When things like this happen, the natural instinct is to call for a removal of the source of the gun crimes, which is to ban guns.

  • billg

    Scott, I'm going by Access to Information stats, where 3% of "reported" gun crime were due to stolen guns, not 50%….I think thats kind of low, but, even at 10%…its a pretty low % to be removing every hand gun from legal owners.   I'm not saying your arguement isnt without validity,  It does make sense and I think 10 or 20 years would be a great target, but, what I'm saying is everytime there is a shooting, and a smuggled illegal gun is used by a gang member….everyone wants legal hand guns banned…do you not find that a little weird?

  • We can all take comfort knowing that there's a similar discussion taking place over at SDA right now that's waaaaay more colourful than this one.

  • Mike said:

    My argument has always been, and continues to be, that banning will actually create more crime, not reduce it.

    Well Mike, studies show that contention to be in error, As shown here, studies show where there is more gun ownership, there is more gun deaths and rate of injury:

  • I don’t know how clearer I have to be BillG. If half the guns causing crimes are committed by people who have stolen them from legal handgun owners, my argument is that by taking those guns out of the system and prohibiting people from buying them altogether, they cant be stolen and cant be used in a crime. It immediately cuts that supply off.

    Of course, smuggled illegal hand guns are also a problem, but choking off the supply by making it impossible to steal from registered gun owners if they are illegal to own in the first place (and by as suggested in the Star getting those people to turn in those guns under a buy-back program) puts a big dent into criminals getting their hands on guns. Is that better explained?

  • "He completely avoided the US argument, for example…"

    Well, this is not the US. But lets use the US. Washington DC, for example has repeatedly had they highest rate of gun crime in the US (no mean feat)  and more annual murders per year than the entirety of Canada. And until a recent court decision they had a total handgun ban for more than 20 years.

    Clearly the ban of the kind of which you are proposing did not work, in a country by your own admission has far more gun crime. Indeed, I could easily argue that the banning in DC contributed to it becoming the worst city for gun crime for the reasons I have cited numerous times above. In other words, it proves my point, not yours. Indeed much of the gun crime in the US can be traced back to its ill-conceived and poorly executed "War on Drugs" which is fueling, rather than stopping, violent crime.

    But lets not move the goal posts here.  The issue is that you support a total ban without providing compelling evidence that it will actually work to prevent gun crime. I have provided arguments that such a ban would have the exact opposite effect that you desire.

    You are engaging in the exact same kind of fear mongering and "its for your own good" logic that the CPC engaged in with the Anti-Terrorism legislation – all fear with no basis in fact or analysis.

    You bring up protection, but I only mentioned it once, in passing as an example as to why someone may wish to own a gun. I personally don't think it will work very well, which is why I choose not to own a gun.

    My argument has always been, and continues to be, that banning will actually create more crime, not reduce it.  Nothing to do with the US or with 'self-protection' or any other red herring you care to throw out.

    You are arguing that I or anyone else should not even have the choice to own a gun, because you think there is no reason to. You know better than people who do not agree with you and you will make them behave by your standards, whether they wish to or not.

    Tell me again how that is different than any other socially conservative stance you have fought against in the past?

  • billg

    Yes Scott but your arguement is based on making legal hand gun ownership tighter.  You have not made one reasonable arguement about illegal hand guns.  If most gun crime is committed with illegal smuggled hand guns why not just ban illegal hand guns?   Because they already are.   I'm always fascinated by this debate and how it reaches the absurd.   The problems are weapons smuggled across our borders into the hands of gang leaders and criminals.  Its almost like the answer isnt right there in front of us. 

  • BillG, just to take issue with you on an earlier point:

    Now, according to access to information, 3% of gun related crimes since 2000 were committed with stolen guns, that leaves 97% of gun crimes attributed to illegal guns, or for a better word, smuggled weapons.

    This is not true. Although half of the handguns recovered in crime are smuggled in from the USA, the other half originate from guns stolen from Canadian gun owners

    As I have said, it will be a tremendous benefit to cutting the supply by making all handguns illegal.

  • I gave my reasons too Olaf.. in my original piece and in my followups. As far as I’m concerned, Mike’s reasoning is flawed and pie in the sky thinking. My reasons are in my posts and in my rebuttals. If you think he’s up on me, thats your opinion.. but I don’t think he trumped me at all. He completely avoided the US argument, for example… where they have almost unfettered ownership of guns, and have an epidemic of gum crimes and murder rates from guns and so on. Libertarianism in action in the US on guns obviously isn’t working down there. We have less of it because of our gun control laws, but I’m arguing, and others are arguing, that they can be made even tighter..and that handguns are unneccesary. I dont buy the “protection” bit at all – look to the US for the aforementioned reason… I dont believe in vigilante justice.

    If you don’t agree, thats fine. You always tend to disagree with me with anything I say.. so I’m not surprised.

    Read the full Star editorial as well. More great reasons from them.

  • Scott,

    Mike 1… Scott 0

    In your opinion only.

    And mine.  Plus, it's senseless to rely on the "you're a conservative, you would say that" as if it somehow invalidates my opinion, especially when Mike is anything but a conservative and we agree.

    All you're saying is that you "don't accept" this or that point that Mike makes.  That's not a rebuttal, nor does it show that his "reasoning is flawed", hence my rout comment. 

    For example, this:

    I am still convinced in my belief there is no legitimate reason for people other then the military or the police to be owning a weapon like that.

    Not only did Mike give you numerous  "reasons", but he also pointed out that it isn't upto you to understand the "reason" to own a gun, anymore than it's upto him to understand the "reason" for owning an SUV, or me to understand the "reason" to own acid washed jeans or a Milli Vanilli CD.  If you want to ban something, you have to make a case for so doing.  And a case for banning something cannot be made upon the fact that you, yourself, don't see a "reason" for other people to own it.  In that case, you're legislating subjective personal taste – because you don't want a handgun, you see no reason for others to want a handgun.
    Me?  I don't own a gun.  Never have.  Probably never will.  I've seen the results of gun violence in my city.  I'm hardly a gun lobbyist or a right wing pro-gun ideologue.  I just simply don't think that banning handguns would have saved Ephraim Brown, particularly for the reasons that Mike pointed out and you ignored by saying you disagree, as if that were an argument in itself.


    : Hey, here's some strong evidence indicating that Global Warming is a result of increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Scott: I see your point, but I still disagree that humans contribute to global warming.

    Impartial observer: Hmm… good points all around… toss up.

    End scene.

  • billg

    This is what blogging should be, and, I'm just havin fun keeping score…thats all.   No one should own a gun, no one should drink or smoke or do drugs.  I'm just guessing here but, I think what Mike is getting at is that this arguement is like that pink bunny…it will keep going and going and going until Society as a whole grows the hell up.   Your never going to stop criminals from smuggling drugs and weapons, so, how can the answer be to stop Mr and  Mrs Wilson from target shooting at the rifle range?   Eliminating hand guns is easy, kind of, more border guards with unlimited search powers, more police on the streets with the ability to stop anyone anytime, unlimited wiretaps and search warrants….2 years tops gangs are busted up and jails are full…and alot of community's are safe again, but, we all know that will never happen.  So in the meantime, we all watch helplessly.

  • BillG said:
    [quote comment="6080"]Mike 1….Scott 0[/quote]

    In your opinion only. I personally see it as one viewpoint vs another. I also personally think the libertarians to be well-meaning idealists,  but totally unrealistic in their views that the less laws we have, the better. Unfortunately, society doesn't work like that.  The US has almost no gun control laws at all, and yet their gun deaths are rampant, as is their crime rate.    If you take the supply of guns away, you help stem the problem..  I am still convinced in my belief there is no legitimate reason for people other then the military or the police to be owning a weapon like that.

  • "but I do admire the outside the box thinking."

    Better than knee-jerk solutions which have failed in the past. Thanks.

  • foottothefire

    IF God didn't want people shot in the streets, he wouldn't have invented pistols.  Get it right, for once.
    How the hell do you expect self-respecting street snot, deranged men in trees and Chinese executioners to get it right when no one is accept that this is the way God wants it?
    Does anyone in their right mind think that God would have invented pistols to kill, mountain bikes to tear up mountain sides, 4×4'n, loud mufflers and 523 American Christian sects calling for war if God didn't want it to happen?

  • billg

    Mike 1….Scott 0

  • "As far as I’m concerned Mike, there is no reason for people to own guns."

    Because they choose to,  for whatever reason they think is important.

    "Getting rid of 400 000 of them – or more out there – helps dry up the supply for criminals to get access to."

    Except that you won't "get rid of" them. They will go underground. They will become more valuable and create a black market. Getting rid of the supply does not get rid of the demand. But the value and price of a gun will be driven up, enticing more people into the "easy money" of smuggling, buying and selling of illegal guns. Prohibiting will merely create the same prohibition related crime that occurred in the 30's with alcohol and occur today with drugs. It will probably fuel more gun crime not less. We will be less safe, not more.

    "I still don’t see any of you giving me valid reasons for someone to own guns."

    See above. See Stageleft's post.

    For protection, for hunting, for collecting (my brother owns my Great Grandfather's pepperbox Derringer from the 1880s and my Grandfather's Webbly from WWII). Because I like the smell. Because it matches my shoes (Pearl Handled revolvers only of course). Because I like to target shoot, either at a gun range or at pop cans at the back of my Dad's farm.

    Because I choose to. For your own reasons, you may choose not to. That's ok too.

    BTW, you are the one proposing an extraordinary measure – to ban private ownership and, I expect, confiscation, of private property. The burden of proof is, then, on you to show the reasons this extraordinary measure is needed, the reasons to NOT own a gun (beside simply choosing not to), not on me to defend the status quo.

    I mean, I don't see any reason for anyone to own an SUV, but I would not support banning them. Would you?

    "I would argue its in the public interest to get a total ban on handguns in place,"

    And by "public interest" I assume you are deciding how other people besides yourself should live, what they should own and how they should act? And that "public interest" does involve you changing in anyway? Consider your entirely correct and appropriate stances on issues gay marriage or religion in politics in this light. Tell me again about the 'public interest'?

    "You libertarians (be you left or right) might not accept that view, but I will bet that’s the prevalent view."

    Yep that's right. But prevalent doesn't make it right. All those people who don't want to own guns don't have to. Are you now arguing for 'tyranny of the majority'?

    SL has said it best and I will quote him again, to make sure the point is made:

    "I simply do not think that I, or anyone else, should suffer any penalty, or potential penalty, for an illegal act committed buy some other person in some other place."

  • billg

    Legalize drugs and all guns.  That would work in an era where people either worked on the Starship Enterprise or on a colony for the Federation of Planets…I'm not sure 21st century humans are ready for that lofty goal….but I do admire the outside the box thinking.

  • A rout, Olaf? Pfft.. it was no rout at all. Mike’s reasoning is flawed in my opinion, and I stated’re just looking at it from your conservative point of view and since you totally agree with it, that’s your rather predictable response.

    It’s also hard to state it’s a rout (even when it isn’t) when only 3 or 4 people have commented.

  • "so your idea is to legalize drugs and ban legal guns."

    No, my idea is to legalize (or at least decriminalize) drugs and have no restrictions on gun ownership. Or at least keep the status quo, which is way better than a ban. I am totally against prohibition of anything like that because history has proven again and again that it doesn't work. As bad as alcohol is, it was far worse in the 20s and 30s in the US when you could be killed for buying or selling it or go blind drinking bad batches.

    I hope that you have chosen not to drink, if it is so dangerous.

    I think I have laid the case out for legalization fairly well, based on history and economics. That people like George Shultz (hardly a lefty) agree with me only makes it more powerful. Many police agree too.

  • Wow, Mike did some serious damage on this one.  I'd love to contribute, but it was a rout.

    I also liked this, Scott:

    I also dont accept the equation you use between Muslims and handguns.

    Care to suggest why?  That's usually how these things go: someone makes a point, you say you don't accept it, but more importantly, you say why you don't accept it, so the proclaimer can see the error in their ways.  It just makes for better conversation, I find.

  • billg

    Make drugs legal?  Ya that will help.  How many millions of lives are destroyed from alcohol?  Times that by 10 and you get an idea of what your idea will look like.  We cant win the war on drugs because we dont play by the same rules, we cant win a fight with illegal guns because again, we dont play by the same rules, so your idea is to legalize drugs and ban legal guns.  Boy, that'll be fun society, cant see anything happening there !

  • billg

    I actually agree with SLG.   But, it still doesnt answer or solve any of the problems we have here in Canada.

  • As far as I’m concerned Mike, there is no reason for people to own guns. Getting rid of 400 000 of them – or more out there – helps dry up the supply for criminals to get access to.

    I still don’t see any of you giving me valid reasons for someone to own guns. For protection? A lot of good that’s done in the US. For the simple sake of principle because the libertarians dont agree with government imposing regulations on society?? That’s ideological…we might as well say we should remove environmental laws and allow corporations to make as much money as they want. Of course, thats unreasonable… and its in the public interest to have environmental regulations.

    I would argue its in the public interest to get a total ban on handguns in place, and I will again state I’m willing to bet there will be a heck of a lot more people out there willing to support a ban on handguns because of that principle then against.? You libertarians (be you left or right) might not accept that view, but I will bet that’s the prevalent view.

    You know.. I’m even willing to support a slight tongue-in-cheek view that we can allow people to have handguns, but to put a steep price on or not allow them to have bullets for the said handguns, as Michelle pointed out in her Chris Rock spoof of that here:

  • Slg,

    "Apparently, there are 200 million – yes, 200 million unregistered guns in the US."

    Leaving 199,999,999,997 that weren't used in that crime.

    Conversely, there we had a similar crime in Montreal, with a legal, registered gun.

    Despite the hand waving, my point is that its not the gun that's the problem, its the person and the situation they find themselves in that makes them want or need to use one. As Billg points out, most guns used in gun crimes are already illegal. Banning guns will make you feel good, but it won't do anything about gun crime. And, as I said earlier, may actually create MORE crime, as any kind of prohibition inevitable does.

    I want to do something about gun crime, but I want to do something that works and does not infringe upon the lives of law abiding people and does not involve collective punishment. Unlike Billg, I don't agree with stiffer sentences, because most research shows that doesn't work either.

    The problem with gun crime is the crime, not the gun.

    Look at it from a rational point of view, rather than through knee-jerk emotions.

    What is driving most of the gun-related crime? Most likely drugs. Why are drugs creating crime? The scarcity driving value and the inability to deal with transgressions in a non-violent manner, as I stated above. In other words, the prohibition on drugs is fueling gun crime. If the "War on Drugs" is ended and drugs are decriminalized or even legalized, the cost will drop for the drugs, the ability to use non-violent methods of redress for transgressions (courts, arbitration, law suits, insurance) will increase making people move away from violent techniques. Gangs and organized crime will lose their power and the need for the guns, in the criminal context, will be greatly diminished. Thus gun crime and gun usage will be lowered.

    This is exactly what happened after prohibition was lifted on alcohol in the 30's with the same effect. How many murders do you hear of today over bathtub gin or smuggled whiskey? The "War on Drugs" is fueling crime just as Prohibition did and can be solved the same way.

    Even by doing nothing, crime is still falling. There is no crisis so great that we need to jump to a 'cure' already proven not to work – prohibition.

    Now you may not agree with my analysis, but at least I am trying to layout a counter argument based on historical experience and statistical fact rather than raw emotion and the human need to always "do something". If you have counter arguments, then they too need to be presented rationally and with thought, rather than demanding action without evidence that it works.

    This needs to be calmly debated, not rashly slammed through.

    And I hope from this that you realize that I am hardly the "gun loving right". I am the "freedom loving left" – not many on the right would accept my stance on drugs.

  • I can't get on board with this Scott, I don't own a hand gun, but if I wanted to the idea that others commit crimes with them is not sufficient reason enough to ban me from having one. I do own long guns (yes, with an "s" meaning plural) and none of that makes me part of the a "gun loving right wing".

    I simply do not think that I, or anyone else, should suffer any penalty, or potential penalty, for an illegal act committed buy some other person in some other place.

    Banning things does not work, our friends across the border once tried to ban alcohol – how did that go? We tried it here in a few places – how did that go?

  • slg

    I see what Scott is trying to say.  It's a lot harder to kill 30 people at once with a knife or fists then it is with guns – i.e. school shooting Virginia Tech in the US.

    Apparently, there are 200 million – yes, 200 million unregistered guns in the US.

    How many kids have to die to make the gun loving right wing to wake up.

  • billg

    I disagree whole heartedly, but, will go along.  Ban all hand guns.  Now, according to access to information, 3% of gun related crimes since 2000 were committed with stolen guns, that leaves 97% of gun crimes attributed to illegal guns, or for a better word, smuggled weapons.   So, if you ban hand guns what is the punishment for carrying one?  What about using one to commit a crime?  Whats the crime for smuggling weapons?   How many hand gun crimes will it take to register an idividual as a dangerous offender?   There is a monster who just plea bargened his way out of what?..his 9th child molestation case?   These 2 kids who were charged with that murder in Toronto were on a collision course with murder for the past 7 years..its just been easier to look the other way.  So ban away, but, unless its taken more seriously than pedophilia, smuggling, drug abuse etc…its just another political waste of freakin time that most thinking people know wont solve anything!  This is not a Liberal/Conservative issue, with you it is, but, answer me this…13 years in power with no opposition and no hand gun ban….or is it one of those "we were just getting to it"  things?   They didnt ban them because it wont work unless it comes with stiffer penalty's, and, its hard to get elected as the softer gentler party when your spending billions on new jails.

  • I never said the status quo was acceptable. We disagree on what to do, or what changes need to be made.

    But you are advocating collective punishment for the actions of a few. Just as the nutters from Free Dominion, or RightGirl or SDA would advocate deporting or locking up or forcibly converting Muslims for the actions a a fringe group, you are advocating that all law abiding handgun owners, who only use their guns at the gun club or shooting range or otherwise legitimately be stripped of their property and that everyone have the choice to own a handgun be removed (except for the police and Armed Forces, of course…because their handguns never get stolen from their homes). Collective punishment, for the actions of a small and shrinking minority. You would not accept this course of action in one context, but propose the very same action in another.

    Your own logic does not hold water either:

    "Guns are a lot easier to use to kill people then with knives, Mike"

    Yes, but you would not propose banning buck knives because someone was stabbed at Jane and Sheppard, would you? Of course not.

    You propose banning handguns but not rifles. Have you fired a handgun before? Its not like on TV – hitting a target is very hard. It is far easier to shoot a rifle more accurately making a rifle more dangerous because it is easier to use it to kill than a handgun. And if you read the Stats Can reports, most gun crimes are with rifles, not handguns.

    I would also like to see some evidence that banning handguns will make us "safer" or actually reduce gun crime, rather than merely shifting it to more easily available guns or having no effect because violent criminals will use a handgun whether it is legal or not.

    By positing prohibition, you are also creating the circumstances for a rise in crime. Simple economics – when you try to completely eliminate the supply of something, you create a shortage that drives up the price, making it more profitable for those who wish to  engage in the activity, while at the same time cutting off an avenue for people to have proper information and recourse for correcting wrongs – if my gun is stolen I can't go to the cops, because its illegal. I therefore must myself resort to extra-legal and illegal methods to recover my property (remember its worth a lot because of scarcity so its valuable). So I end up turning to gangs and thugs and violence as my only means of redress. More violence and more gun crime.

    This is what happened during Prohibition in the US (Al Capone got rich from alcohol because it was illegal) and is currently happening with drugs. Why would you propose we repeat those mistakes with handguns?

    I understand the need to "do something" in the face of such a terrible tragedy, I really do. But what we do ought to actually make us safer and not be a knee-jerk reaction and be "security theatre" – appearing to make us safer while actually reducing our safety.

    I fear banning handguns is just that, security theatre. There is no evidence that banning will actually reduce this kind of crime or prevent it in the future. Indeed, a good argument can be made that it will make crime worse,  not better. But it will seem like we are "doing something" about the problem.

    And in the end, the majority of law abiding citizens will have been punished for the actions of a fringe minority and we will be less safe, setting the stage for more tragedies that caused us to act in the first place.

  • Guns are a lot easier to use to kill people then with knives, Mike. I also dont accept the equation you use between Muslims and handguns.

    You can say you think I am wrong, but I obviously disagree that I am wrong. I think the libertarians are kidding themselves if they think the status quo is somehow acceptable.

  • Scott,

    This is not going to make me popular – indeed, its going to probably get me hate mail – but I am going to have to disagree with you on this.

    This is nothing more than the politics of fear raising its ugly head again, but this time by Liberals and other lefties, rather than the usual suspects on the right. Just like the overwrought response to “terrorism” and “terrorists” results in unjust laws impairing our freedom, overwrought responses to an incident of gun crime by banning all hand guns is an equal impairment on freedom.

    The fact is that crime is dropping and is at a 25 year low. That is all crime, including gun crime. The crime rate is not a function of what law is on the books, but a function of demographics. We are in fact safer, despite these incidents. To indicate otherwise is to succumb to fear and irrationality and that is not a good basis for conducting your affairs. Remember, we already have some of the strictest gun laws in the world and yet this tragedy still happened.

    We do not condemn all Muslims when Muslim terrorists commit (or are accused of trying to think about committing) an act of terror, nor should we condemn law abiding gun owners – including hand gun owners – by the acts of a single individual or incident. Collective punishment for individual acts is always wrong.

    The answer to this is to find and punish the individual who committed this crime. The answer is to address the underlying conditions that led them to want or need to pick up a gun in the first place.? Poverty and? desperation? Drugs?

    You realize that the prohibitions on certain drugs has actually fueled the violence and crime surrounding the drug trade rather than reduced it.

    More people in Canada are killed with knives than guns. Shall we ban knives? Don’t laugh, there is a Conservative MP from Bellville trying to do just that.

    Guns are a morally neutral tool. Use it to kill an innocent kid, and its evil. Use it to prevent a murder or a robbery, or to kill a rogue bear, and its good. What needs to be dealt with is the individual choices and behaviour that led to the use of the gun, not the gun itself.

    And no one should be punished for what some idiot in Toronto did last week. Unless they were there, have done nothing wrong. How is confiscating and outlawing the property of someone in Wawa Ontario for the actions of someone at Jane and Sheppard remotely fair? How is punishing a peaceful majority for the actions of a violent minority remotely fair? Would you accept that all Muslims should be deported for that actions of the Toronto 17? Of course not, but logically that is the argument you are making with regard to guns in the wake of this tragedy.

    Sorry Scott, on this you are wrong and it is the rare occasion that the government, so far, is doing the right thing – nothing. (Needless to say, I don’t expect this to last – the CPC will find a reason to flip flop as soon as the inevitable poll on this comes out).

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